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The devastating convergence of conflict, climate and COVID for refugees and displaced people

The devastating convergence of conflict, climate and COVID for refugees and displaced people

Statement by Ambassador James Kariuki at the Security Council briefing by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Thank you Mr President. Let me first thank the High Commissioner for his comprehensive briefing and for the dedicated work of his teams around the world.

The United Kingdom is committed to a longer term, holistic approach to refugee assistance and protection that restores dignity and offers refugees a viable future. To this end, the UK has contributed over $570 million to the vital work of the UNHCR over the last 5 years.

I would also like to acknowledge the huge generosity of host nations in opening their borders and homes to those forced to flee. UK funding has played a key role in supporting communities strengthen resilience and self-reliance.

Amongst others, the UK has provided:

$970 million to support refugees in Lebanon since 2011

$424 million to the Rohingya refugee response in Bangladesh since 2017

And $278 million to programmes in Uganda over a six year period.

Now the High Commissioner raised a number of important themes in his presentation. I would like to address 3 of issues; conflict, climate change and COVID19.

First, on conflict, Security Council efforts to support political solutions to humanitarian crises are clearly an essential part of the picture but actors on the ground have responsibilities too – this includes adherence to International Humanitarian Law and ensuring that any refugee returns are voluntary, safe and dignified. It’s only through demonstrated compliance with the humanitarian principles (humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence) that humanitarian actors can build the trust necessary to gain, and maintain, access to displaced populations in need.
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